Local & Regional

Tulsa County Booking Photo

 

An Oklahoma woman has been formally sentenced to 16 years in prison for slashing the corpse of her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend.

A Tulsa County judge sentenced 29-year-old Shaynna Sims Thursday, who was convicted in April on five charges related to the mutilation of Tabatha Lynch's body in a casket at a Tulsa mortuary.

Lynch had died in April 2015 of natural causes at age 38.

Defense attorneys said Sims was "not in the right state of mind" because she was embarrassed and angry that her boyfriend had an affair with Lynch.

GSA

 

 Two state prison inmates and a former prison guard have been sentenced for their roles in what prosecutors say was a large methamphetamine distribution ring operated out of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

Acting U.S. Attorney Douglas Horn says the three were sentenced Wednesday. Inmate Cody Lee McClendon III was sentenced to about 32 years in prison for conspiracy and assaulting a federal officer, inmate Michael Lincoln was sentenced to 27½ years for conspiracy and former guard Timothy Crocker was sentenced to 37 months for conspiracy.

 

A report on the fatal crash of a medical helicopter near Eufaula says the pilot likely was disoriented when the aircraft went down in eastern Oklahoma more than two years ago.

The National Transportation Safety Board report released last week says the pilot likely had "spatial disorientation" after making a turn in cloudy weather in an effort to divert the flight to another airport.

Pilot Matt Matthews was killed and a nurse and a paramedic were injured when the EagleMed helicopter crashed about 9 miles west of Eufaula on March 12, 2015.

File Photo

The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety lifted Thursday a 100 mile daily driving limit on Highway Patrol troopers across the state.

The limit was put in place in December in response to midyear budget cuts. DPS lifted it after the 2018 state budget became official.

"What that mile restriction did is it made us more of a reactive force. Now we can be proactive, where we can go out and we can look for these distracted drivers and, ultimately, reduce crashes, which is what our goal is," said Trooper Dwight Durant.

TCC

Less money for higher education in Oklahoma’s 2018 budget translates into a loss of $1.8 million for Tulsa Community College.

That means TCC’s state allocation has fallen $9 million since 2015. President Leigh Goodson said the college must keep up with the changing needs of its students, but all it can do right now is make cuts.

"It's nearly impossible for us to invest in different methods in terms of educating our students. We're doing it — it's proceeding much slower than our students need," Goodson said.

Half Dozen Suspicious Fires Overnight in Tulsa

Jun 1, 2017
Tulsa Fire Department

Tulsa Fire Department arson investigators are looking for clues into a series of overnight fires. Five homes and one car caught fire overnight. Officials say the fires were all with in a mile of each other.

That makes fire officials think the blazes may be the work of a serial arsonists. One fire fighter was injured in the fire fight. 

The fires were all near 49th West Avenue and Charles Page. 

In the local news:

  • Governor Fallin signs the new state budget.
  • The Tulsa Zoo's Lost Kingdom is dedicated.
  • A food program is announced to feed hungry children.

OCCA

 

 The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has affirmed the life prison sentence of a man convicted of beating his roommate to death with a baseball bat.

The court handed down the decision Wednesday to 32-year-old Joel Robert Giefer, who was convicted of first-degree murder by a jury in Tulsa County in the Dec. 1, 2014, beating death of 31-year-old Ted Kissel.

Police discovered the victim's body after responding to reports that a man had been threatening his roommate over rent money at the residence Kissel shared with Giefer.

KGOU

 

 Restoration of Oklahoma's century-old state Capitol has reached a milestone as workers remove scaffolding from the first portion of the building's stone facade, which was repaired and cleaned.

The Capitol's northwest corner sparkled in the sunshine Wednesday as workers from JE Dunn Construction unveiled the result of their efforts to restore the building's original cast iron windows, Indiana limestone facade and Oklahoma pink granite base.

file photo

Gov. Mary Fallin approved lawmakers' 11th hour budget Wednesday afternoon.

Fallin signed the $6.8 billion for fiscal year 2018 budget into law five days after it passed the legislature on the last day of session. The 2018 budget is about $38 million, or 0.5 percent, less than this year's actual budget.

In a statement, Fallin said while the budget minimizes cuts to core services and includes some recurring revenue, state leaders missed an opportunity to address structural problems with the budget.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The State Department of Education has some Food for Thought this summer.

That’s the name of the program to offer free breakfasts and lunches to students across Oklahoma. Oklahoma is among the worst when it comes to getting food to kids in need when school is out for the summer.

"Sixty-two percent of our kids in public school qualify for free and reduced lunch, but in the summer, only 6.4 percent are receiving those meals," said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

Feed the Children

 

Directors at an Oklahoma City-based nonprofit say a former U.S. congressman was fired from their organization in November for legitimate business reasons.

The Oklahoman reports J.C. Watts sued Feed the Children and six directors in April in Oklahoma County District Court, alleging he was fired from his role as CEO and president in retaliation for reporting problems at the charity to the state attorney general's office.

Tulsa Red Cross Wants to Head Off Blood Shortage

May 31, 2017
KWGS News Photo

 

The American Red Cross urges those who have never given blood before, as well as those who haven’t given recently, to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now and help sustain a sufficient community blood supply this summer.

BA's Frie To Head Tulsa's PAC

May 31, 2017
City of Tulsa

Mayor G.T. Bynum has selected Tulsa native Mark W. Frie as the new Performing Arts Center Director for the City of Tulsa, effective June 19. 

Frie will lead the day-to-day operations for the Tulsa Performing Arts Center and oversee the entertainment lineup and rental agreements for the PAC. 

A national search for a director began when longtime director John Scott planned to retire after an incredible career at the Tulsa PAC that spanned 28 years.

 

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded three quakes early Wednesday. The agency says a pair of earthquakes — with preliminary magnitudes of 2.9 and 3.0 — struck Perry, about 60 miles north of Oklahoma City. A 3.4 magnitude temblor hit Pawnee, about 75 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

There are no reports of damage or injuries. On Tuesday, three earthquakes were also recorded in the Perry area.

Pawnee is the site of Oklahoma's strongest earthquake on record — a 5.8 magnitude quake that hit last September and caused extensive damage.

In the local news:

  • A study will look at Tulsa's racial disparity.
  • The PGA will return to Tulsa.
  • One man is dead in Catoosa workplace shooting.

OSCN

 

A district judge from Norman is stepping down after just six years in office, saying the time is right for her to return to private practice.

District Judge Tracy Schumacher submitted her letter of resignation Tuesday to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. The resignation is effective June 6.

Schumacher was elected to the four-year post in 2010, narrowly defeating then-Republican state Sen. Jonathan Nichols of Norman for the open seat that includes Cleveland, Garvin and McLain counties. She was unopposed in 2014.

File photo

 

The Oklahoma Legislature has passed several alcohol-related bills this session.

The Oklahoman reports that Republican Sen. Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma City authored many of the bills, including one allowing breweries to have the same hours of operation as bars and restaurants.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed another measure Thursday allowing counties to vote on Sunday liquor sales.

Catoosa Police-Fiacebook

 

Police say one person was killed and a man was arrested following a shooting outside a business in northeastern Oklahoma.

Catoosa Police Chief Kevin McKim told reporters the shooting occurred about 1:40 p.m. Tuesday outside a trucking related business in the Tulsa suburb.

No names have been released and the name of business was not immediately released.

McKim said the two were co-workers and had argued before the shooting, but a motive was not known.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Making Tulsa a more equitable community is the city's latest data-driven endeavor.

The city and the Community Service Council have received a Rockefeller Foundation grant to look at data on education, health, housing and racial justice disparities. The first report will come this winter.

"We see this as being an annual release of data and information to share so we can check ourselves and see how we're doing toward erasing barriers that might keep our city from being the best it can be," said Heather Hope-Hernandez with the Community Service Council.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Oklahoma lawmakers agree the $6.9 billion budget they passed isn't perfect.

Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz and Minority Leader John Sparks, however, disagree on how well it addresses the state's recurring deficits.

"We made some very difficult decisions as a caucus, as a body, as a chamber, to make votes that would bring revenue to the state that would be ongoing," Schulz said.

Tulsa climbed one spot in a ranking of park systems in America’s 100 largest cities.

Tulsa is 59th in the Trust for Public Land's sixth annual ParkScore.

The Trust for Public Land looks at park acreage, facilities and investment, and access, which is how many people live within a 10 minute walk of a park.

 

The PGA of America announced Tuesday that Southern Hills Country Club will host the Senior PGA Championship in 2021 for the first time, and that the PGA Championship will return for a fifth time.

The earliest available date for the PGA Championship at the historic Perry Maxwell-designed layout in Tulsa, Oklahoma is 2024. No date was given for the Senior PGA Championship.

Southern Hills has not hosted a major since Tiger Woods won the 2007 PGA.

Google Street View

 

Authorities say a 28-year-old Tulsa woman was killed after crashing her motorcycle in northern Oklahoma on Memorial Day.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the wreck happened Monday afternoon on a county road near Avant, about 25 miles north of Tulsa. According to a preliminary report, Kristen O'Donnell was killed after crashing into a culvert.

A preliminary report says O'Donnell was pinned beneath the motorcycle for an unknown amount of time before a passer-by stopped to pull the vehicle off her. O'Donnell was pronounced dead at the scene.

DOC

 

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections says an escape from a state prison has been recaptured in California. The department said in a news release Tuesday that 27-year-old Rhodrick Walden was found in Los Angeles after the U.S. Marshal's Metro Fugitive Task Force in Oklahoma City received a tip regarding his location. The DOC said previously that Walden was an inmate at the medium security Jackie Brannon Correctional Center in McAlester when he apparently walked away from a work crew last week.

OutdoorsOK.com

State officials are urging caution when Oklahomans visit waterways in eastern Oklahoma this week.

The Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission says recent heavy rainfall in the region has swelled river levels in the region.

The agency says fallen trees and debris have accumulated along the Illinois River following flooding on April 30th, posing navigational hazards to boaters and swimmers.

Kendall-Whittier Home Burns Early Tuesday

May 30, 2017
Tulsa Fire

No one is hurt as a Kendall-Whittier area home goes up in flames this morning. The house was near 5th and Yorktown. 

Fire officials say flames were through the roof when fire fighters rolled to the scene about 4:30 this morning. The home was apparently being remodeled. It is most likely a loss now. 

No word at this point on the cause.

Google Street View

 

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt says the agency is looking for the source of pollution at a contaminated creek in Osage County.

Pruitt, Oklahoma's former attorney general, visited the contaminated Bird Creek Friday to discuss the agency's efforts to determine the source of the pollution and correct it.

The Tulsa World reports that saltwater contamination was first reported in August 2016 when an oily sheen appeared on North Bird Creek along with dead fish and turtles a few miles from the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.

KWGS News

 

President Donald Trump expressed the nation's "boundless" gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice paid by Americans defending the United States, dedicating his first Memorial Day address as commander in chief to a top Cabinet secretary and two other families who lost loved ones.

In the local news:

  • A beauty school opens behind Oklahoma prison walls.
  • President Trump remembers a fallen Oklahoman.
  • Tulsa's park ranking improves.

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